Life Is Full Of Firsts

firstsfirstsfirstsThe first time I really saw and played in snow was at 22 years old on my first trip to Lake Tahoe.  I’ve seen snow before, but never up close.  For those who think that’s strange I grew up in Hawaii and never traveled much growing up.  I thought it was strange when in college I met people who have never been to the beach.

firstsI remember playing in the snow, building a snowman and making snow angels.  My roommate was embarrased because a grown man was acting like a little kid.  Probably because I also peed in the snow, yeah I’m that guy. That was my first experience in a snow storm with snow chains. 

I’ve had many firsts, first time I went to Vegas and could legally gamble, first time I went on spring break, first time I met up in Vegas with friends from many states, first time I went overseas, and the list goes on and on.  I believed in YOLO and never wanted to miss out, hey I’m only in my 20s once.  At my work we usually shut down the last two weeks in December, everyone goes on vacation or spend time with their families.  That’s usually an expensive time of year between Christmas presents and going on vacation with friends.  It didn’t matter if I couldn’t afford it, I would charge it and carry a balance for 2-3 months.  Once I got my bonus I would just that debt off, then I planned for my next vacation with my tax refund money.  It’s like Christmas coming twice a year!

Never wanted to miss dinner with friends, going on trips or various parties.  Life is full of experiences that I didn’t want to miss out on.  To pay for this lifestyle I put nothing in my retirement for the first two years, and 5% in for the next two years. I couldn’t afford to live like this and expect to save for retirement. There were so many firsts that I wanted to experience and not miss out on.  First time I went to an underground party, first time I went to a concert with 50,000 people.  Now when I look back I don’t even remember half of the “experiences” I wasted my money on. 

When I lived in the moment I thought all these firsts I was experiencing was so important.  What I failed to realize was that life is full of firsts, if I miss out on an event today tomorrow there are many more great experiences.  We don’t have kids yet but I’m looking forward to have my first child, teaching them to walk, taking them to school, having a first birthday.  Looking forward to my first celebratory dinner with my niece when she graduates from college.  My first time hosting family from another state that I havent seen for years.

Life is much easier knowing that if you can’t afford to do something today, you’re not really missing out because there are so many other wonderful moments still waiting to happen.  The next time you see friends doing things on Facebook and you’re in debt or can’t afford to go out, don’t worry because you’re looking forward to being debt free for the first time. For those who aren’t in debt you should be looking forward to be the first of your family for early financial independence.

Do you agree that life is full of firsts?  Are there any firsts in life that you’re looking forward to?




  1. I agree, life is full of first and it is those firsts that is part of what makes life so meaningful. Right now we are anticipating my 4 year old son’s first day of school! It is obviously a first for him, but he is also my first child that I will be sending off to school. :o)
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  2. Charles, another awesome post, and I would totally agree. The other thing I would add is that ten years from now, you likely won’t care about missing that “first” trip to Vegas or that dinner out, but you’ll regret forever having wasted that money when you could’ve saved it for a bigger, better first that you now can’t afford.
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…Saturday Morning Ramble: Time Flies When You’re Having FunMy Profile

  3. While I believe it can be wise to pass on the luxurious trip to the Cayman Islands or vacation in NYC, I also believe this is what makes up your life is the great moments. It’s more important to me to spend them with family in great locations, I recently took a trip to Nicaragua and spent it with my wife’s family, I will remember the trip for the rest of my life. You have to be selective and smart with your money on these trips and more importantly the company you keep.
    Even Steven recently posted…Costco Membership Review #894My Profile

  4. I think part of being money conscious is being able to spend money on things that are important to you, so for someone that might be the expensive Paul McCartney concert the other day at Dodger Stadium, but that’s not for me. Mine is traveling to some new places. I realize I might have to make a few more short term scarifies to reach those goals, but I’ll be a lot happier experiencing those firsts knowing I didn’t have to go into debt to get there.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Chasing My Hipster Dream on a Budget: Live Music for $10 or LessMy Profile

  5. I love this perspective, Charles. It acknowledges a hard truth about our psyches: our minds will lie to us, and say almost anything, to get what we want. You only live once. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Money will come and go but X only….blah blah blah. The reality is that these narratives are not really that true, as you noted. Worse yet, they are not even genuine. We are not breaking the bank because the experiences are really that rare or special, but simply because we want them and we want them now.
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  6. We just came back from camping with our extended families. It was my sister-in-law’s first time camping with the kids. They’re 5, 3, and 1. They had the most amazing time and all it cost was $50/day for the site. Most of their equipment was borrowed from friends and family because they wanted to try it out before buying stuff of their own. Creating experiences doesn’t necessarily cost a lot of money.
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  7. This is a quote worth remembering -> “Life is much easier knowing that if you can’t afford to do something today, you’re not really missing out because there are so many other wonderful moments still waiting to happen.” I think a lot of people get disappointed and frustrated in their 20s. It seems like if you don’t do x, y, and z while you are in your 20s you will never do it.
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  8. Well said Charles. I guess when people are spending money on all of those experiences, they will also get to have some additional firsts- first bounced check, first overdraft, first missed credit card payment, first repo, first time the electric gets turned off, first year they should be retired but can’t afford it… etc. Obviously those are some pretty extremes, but I’d rather be able to enjoy my first time experiences knowing it’s not costing me any other first time experiences.
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  9. I’m looking forward to buying my first house and escaping the shitty rental market.

    Looking forward to getting a dog, too, once that happens.
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  10. My sister and her husband just got back from their honeymoon in Hawaii last week and they said it was amazing. They did some crazy dangerous drive called the Road to Hana, but said the view was amazing.

    People were surprised in university when I said I had never been camping. My parents weren’t very active or outdoorsy when I was growing up. The idea of sleeping outside in a tent didn’t seem very fun to them. It rained pretty hard the first time I went camping in university.I’ve done car camping and backcountry camping. Needless to say, I prefer staying at the cottage. :)

    I’m looking forward to the time when I go to my first personal finance conference, which I have no idea when that will be, but hopefully soon!
    MakintheBacon recently posted…Why Work Study Programs Are a Good ThingMy Profile

    • Camping is great on the beach. Maybe you’ll go to next year fincon. Fin con is too far for me, maybe if it’s around the time of a business trip I would go

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